The effects of speech recognition software and word processing on the written expression of students with disabilities
Deborah Ellen Baker, State University of New York at Buffalo, United States
State University of New York at Buffalo . Awarded
Many students benefit from using computers during writing. Three questions serve to guide the study design and data analysis: How do sixth grade students with learning disabilities use word processors to compensate for their writing weaknesses? How do these students use speech recognition software to compensate for these limitations? When alternating between the two types of technology, will one prove to be more beneficial than the other?
The study was carried out with the use of the Alternating Treatments (AT), Single Subject Design (SSD) research methodology. This approach allowed for the study of the interaction between a single behavior, written expression, and two experimental treatments, word processing and speech recognition software. Two sixth grade students were selected to participate in this work.
Student writing was analyzed number of words, number of T-units, number and type of errors, number of mature words, and measures of composition quality. Data were plotted on graphs to allow for visual representation of the resulting behaviors.
Results indicated that certain areas of writing that were affected by the two technologies although not always consistently between the two student participants. One possible explanation for these differences lies in each student's approach to writing and his perceived general understanding of the overall writing process.
Question one. How do sixth grade students with learning disabilities use word processors to compensate for their writing weaknesses? One would conclude that for the students in this study, they don't. Of all the constructs measured, only rate of spelling error seemed to be somewhat different when comparing work that had been word processed to that which was handwritten.
Question two. How do sixth grade students use speech recognition software to compensate for writing weaknesses? There appears to be some advantage of this technology over the other two text production methods for some students with respect to quantity. One area which seemed to show effects for both boys was in the rate of spelling errors. The last area in which differences were noted for this variable was in the quality of the writing. Quality scores from the essays generated via speech were found to be slightly above average, while scores from essays generated with the other two methods were found to be below average.
Question three. Is one technology more beneficial than the other? While the speech recognition technology did appear to have more benefits for the students than the word processor, it was not a panacea for all of their writing weaknesses. If students with disabilities are going to learn to compensate for those disabilities through the use of technological tools, they still need to be taught the basic processes of writing.
Baker, D.E. The effects of speech recognition software and word processing on the written expression of students with disabilities. Ph.D. thesis, State University of New York at Buffalo.
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Gunizi Kartal, Bogazici University, Turkey
Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia Vol. 15, No. 3 (July 2006) pp. 303–328
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